It seems like plenty of players are returning to the field more quickly than expected from otherwise serious injuries. Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who played in October after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in the offseason, explained in an appearance on NFL Network’s Total Access the mindset that brings players back on an accelerated basis.
“We all know we can’t play forever,” Suggs said. “The only way that your legacy can live through the ages is [winning] championship rings. We call them ‘blood diamonds’ because that is what you are going to have to give to obtain them. We are all in constant pursuit of that championship, that football immortality.”
It’s admirable, but it also confirms the presence of a warrior mentality that would prompt players to conceal injuries like concussions. And Commissioner Roger Goodell has spoken repeatedly about the importance of changing the culture of football in a way that will encourage players to always tap out when injured.
Coupled with the fact that 49ers quarterback Alex Smith believes he lost his job because of a concussion he suffered 20 days ago, it could be that the “blood diamond” mindset will never be eradicated from the game.
Especially when a professional football player’s ability to purchase real diamonds and other expensive pieces of property hinges on keeping his job — which in plenty of cases hinges on being able to play.